Written by Alyssa Gabrielle Chen
It’s been almost a month since a new coronavirus strain has been plaguing most of China. Since then, cases have been confirmed around the world, and recently—someone just tested positive for COVID-19 in the Philippines. News media everywhere are monitoring the situation day and night, informing the public with what is happening and preparing them for what might happen.
Alongside the news articles counting the confirmed infections and death toll surrounding the virus comes more interesting posts—racist ones that ostracize the Chinese people.
Posts ranging from a Grab driver generalizing all Chinese passengers to have COVID-19, to a video showing someone shouting that “the Coronavirus is here” in sight of some Chinese nationals have come up amidst the threat of a plague. I know that some were proved to be fake encounters, but my sister seeing a family suddenly cover their faces when they heard her speak Chinese is undoubtedly true.
It’s saddening. To have people say that all of China deserves this COVID-19 because they eat exotic animals or have disgusting hygiene. It’s true that there are some who have zero manners and are uneducated that they defecate anywhere or eat anything, but not all Chinese are like that.
Although I live in the Philippines, I am 100% Chinese by blood who speaks, reads, and writes Chinese as fluent as a native. But surprise! I know how the comfort room works and I’m not even brave enough to try out Kangaroo meat in Australia. Most Chinese people, in fact, are better than what we know of them—or more accurately—what we label them.
It’s disappointing how we have come to easily associate these crude individuals with their nationality, often than not generalizing it to the whole race. We create unhealthy stereotypes for people we do not truly know. We judge people base on their race.
I am not saying that to shut border against China is racist, because anyone who knows basic biology most probably knows that it is a necessary preventive measure so that the virus would not spread to more countries especially to those who are not capable of providing adequate healthcare. However, blaming the Chinese for the virus threat is a different story.
Like us, Chinese people are also human beings with feelings who feel scared contracting the virus. A lot of them, especially medical health professionals, are risking their lives flying to Wuhan from all over China just to control the virus. These Chinese people could even be considered to be more affected with them being more exposed to COVID-19, and with the virus striking during Chinese New Year—a holiday comparable to Christmas in the Philippines.
In these dire times, it is more important for us as a nation to prepare and educate ourselves on how to keep safe from the virus, rather than point fingers to who started it. Maybe in this way, COVID-19 would be eradicated faster and we won’t have to all move to Greenland.
What do you think? Let us know!